October 31, 2006

Case students choose service over surfing

Students travel abroad for spring break social work and service experiences

CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University students are trading sunshine and sandy beaches for travel abroad, March 9-18, 2007 and unique academic and service experiences in the Dominican Republic, Kenya, the Netherlands and the Ukraine.

Some people bring back tan lines from spring break, but others, like Mandel School of Applied Social Science student Winnie Lai who traveled to the Netherlands in 2003 and 2004 brought back a fresh perspective on the world, said Deborah Jacobson, director of the MSASS spring break experience in the Netherlands.

"While I have traveled to many countries in Northern America, Asia, Europe and Australia, none of those previous trips proved to be as valuable as the one in the Netherlands," Lai said.

MSASS will have several informational meetings to acquaint graduate and undergraduate students with the upcoming spring break experiences. All are held at the MSASS building at Ford and Bellflower Roads:

  • Wednesday, November 1, at 12:30 p.m., Room 320 BC
  • Thursday, November 2, 12:30, Room 320 BC
  • Saturday, November 11 at noon, Room 323

Social work students encounter a range of social issues in their education at Case. The Netherlands experience, a three-hour credit course, acquaints Case students with Dutch social policies for homelessness, prostitution, drug use, substance abuse, social services, adoption research and policy, schools, neighborhood social control, multicultural aspects of healthcare, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The experience offers a contrast to how services are delivered in the United States.

But the Netherlands isn't the only destination where social work students will broaden their knowledge.

Victor Groza, an international expert on adoption and professor of social work at Case, is offering a three-credit course experience in the Ukraine to introduce and allow students to explore how socio-political factors influence the development of welfare programs in the non-governmental sector. On the travel agenda is visiting agencies, attending lectures and collaborating with Ukrainian professionals and researchers.

Meanwhile another group of students will travel to Kenya with Andrea Porter, a MSASS field advisor. Professor Sharon Milligan, who is an MSASS expert on community building and recently returned from Kenya after taking a group of Cleveland youths to Africa, organized the trip. These traveling students will learn about the historical and socio-political factors that shape the lives of women, youth and children in this African country that faces such critical issues as poverty, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking and homelessness. The trip will include guided tours into the community and visits to social service agencies that assist women and children.

MSASS student can join fellow students from other academic areas on campus for Case DRIVE (The Dominican Republic Initiative for Volunteer Experience). Established in 2004, the experience provides an international service-learning experience. To participate, students must speak Spanish to enable them to be fully immersed in the experience and to help them develop skills as a global citizen while volunteering for nonprofit agencies in the Dominican Republic.

In addition to tuition for the trips with course credit, other costs are associated with each trip. For details about the travel programs, visit http://msass.case.edu/springbreaktrips/index.html.


Story by Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Kevin Adams, October 31, 2006 04:35 PM | News Topics: Community Outreach, Ethics, General, HeadlinesMain, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.